Skip to Content

Joseph F. Rice School of Law

  • Access to Justice

Access to Justice

The Center sponsors research and service projects to improve access to civil legal assistance and build partnerships among researchers, service providers, and policymakers.

Access to Justice Roundtable (2022)

The Center has launched an access to justice roundtable series in partnership with the American Bar Foundation, Arizona State University, Fordham Law School, Georgetown Law Center, and Georgia State University. The goal of the series is to bring together scholars, researchers, advocates, and activists to discuss reform efforts, works-in-progress, and directions for future work. The first roundtable was held at Fordham Law School in May 2022. The next roundtable will be held at the University of South Carolina School of Law on March 31-April 1, 2023. 

South Carolina Justice Gap Report and Interactive Data Tool (2021)

The Center partnered with the South Carolina Access to Justice Commission to produce an inaugural Justice Gap Report for South Carolina. The report draws on census data, provider data from South Carolina Legal Services and the South Carolina Bar, and court data from South Carolina Circuit and Magistrate courts, to present basic facts about access to attorneys, both geographically and by problem area. The goals of the report are to establish a template for annual reporting in a form that is useful for policymakers and providers, and to identify specific areas of need. Based on our efforts in compiling the report, the Legal Services Corporation selected us to pilot the creation of an interactive data tool that can be updated every year.

Veteran Legal Needs Survey (2019)

The Center partnered with Bennett Gore, director of the Veterans Legal Clinic, and Liyun Zhang, a research scientist at the Children's Law Center, to conduct statewide surveys of indigent veterans and legal and social service providers in order to assess indigent veterans' top legal needs. The survey will help the clinic and other providers plan and coordinate services and raise awareness of veteran legal needs within the state.

Designing and Testing Self-help Legal Software (2018)

With the support of the Center's Claude Mood Scarborough fellowships, law students worked with South Carolina Legal Services to design and test guided interview tools for document assembly in debt collection, housing, and guardianship actions. In addition to creating legal resources for the public, this project provided valuable insights about the benefits and limits of automation and helped earn recognition for the law school as a leader in legal tech innovation.

Empirical A2J Workshop (2017)

This interdisciplinary workshop brought together law and social science researchers studying access to civil justice to discuss works-in-progress and directions for future work. 

Veteran Access to Justice Symposium (2016)

The Veteran Access to Justice Symposium focused on "what we know and need to know" about veteran access to justice. Speakers analyzed the available data about three types of legal service initiatives—medical-legal partnerships, veteran treatments courts, and veteran legal clinics—and discussed strategies for promoting research and data collection going forward.

DATA2J Research Roundtable (2015)

Federal funding for civil legal services increasingly depends upon empirical evidence of program and outcome effectiveness. Private providers, too, increasingly rely on public and proprietary data about consumer legal needs and engagement with lawyers. In March, 2015, the Center hosted a research roundtable for national experts on the delivery of civil legal services to low- and middle-income individuals. Participants presented the most recent findings driving professional and policy debates, and discussed ways to encourage systematic research on legal services delivery.

Research Roundtable on Limited Licensing (2014)

The Center hosted a research roundtable on Washington’s Limited License Legal Technician (LLLT) initiative, whereby experienced paralegals may pursue additional training and licensing to practice independently in the area of family law. Participants included state and national bar officials, regulators, policymakers, and researchers interested in improving access to civil legal assistance.


Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.